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Turkish Coalition of America assists Alfred University students
6/14/12

Six Alfred University students will spend nearly four weeks studying at Isik University in Turkey with help from the Turkish Coalition of America.

The students will each receive $500 from the Coalition to help defray the cost of the study tour.

"This assistance is very significant for our students," said Laura Greyson, professor of political science and study tour leader. "Trips such as this, which are so critical to students’ understanding of the world in which they will live and work in the future, are beyond the means of some of our students without assistance from outside sources like the Turkish Coalition of America. We are so appreciative of the help they are providing."

More than 90 percent of the students at Alfred University require financial aid to meet the cost of their education.

Poised as it is between the Eastern and Western worlds, Turkey’s importance in world politics "will only grow stronger in the years to come," said Greyson, underscoring why it is critical that students learn more about the country. "With its strong economy and democratic political culture, Turkey also serves as a model for other predominantly Muslim countries in the region and provides a critical bridge to the Middle East for the democracies of the West."

Students have already completed a semester-long course, "Istanbul 2012: Crossroads of Civilization," taught by Greyson and Jeffrey Sluyter-Beltrao, associate professor of political science. Through class discussions, readings and written assignments, students explored modern Turkey and its historical roots.

While at Isik University, they will learn in more depth about Byzantine and Ottoman history, the early Turkish republic, Islam and its relationship to Turkish secularism, contemporary Turkish political culture, and Turkey’s role in the Middle East, as well as international relations in general.

One day each week will be spent on guided tours in Istanbul and daylong excursions to the Bosporus, Princes Islands, Bursa and the Dardanelles. There will also be two weekend-long trips. Students will be able to take a shuttle to Istanbul after classes end each afternoon, and they will have many opportunities to spend time with Turkish students and faculty while living on the Isik campus.

Mehmet Emin Karaaslan, professor and chair of economics at Isik, as well as a former tenured professor in the Alfred University College of Business, and Rabia Karakaya Polat, professor and chair of international relations, will direct the program on behalf of Isik University. Greyson will accompany the Alfred students.

Alfred University students will also receive assistance from the Bernstein Fund for Faculty and Student Development, created by Gene Bernstein ’69 and Pamela Lavin Bernstein ’71.